Sunday, October 27, 2013

Pink and Grey Ladder Quilt - officially finished!

This is a quilt that I started in spring of this year at a quilt retreat in Orting, WA. I finished the quilting of it at the quilt retreat in Long Beach (Lighthouse Resort) earlier this month. I just finished hand-stitching the binding yesterday.

The finished quilt measures 46" by 63" inches. It features a pink and grey damask print, white with pink swirls, and grey with darker grey flowers on the front. The backing is done in a pink and grey paisley print with a strip of the pink damask. The binding is done in the grey fabric.

The quilting is all free-hand on my machine, with a focus on curves, swirls and spirals to create visual differentiation from the geometric pattern of the quilt front.

 The ladder pattern features an "S" curve that meets in the middle blocks.

The squares feature a spiral pattern

I love the colors, fabrics, and pattern of this quilt!

This quilt is listed for sale on my Etsy shop: Swiss Miss Stitches.

Thank you for letting me share!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

One Minute Chocolate Cupcakes - Anti-Inflammatory Friendly

Okay, I just had to share this. You know how you come across something and you get so excited you do the little hop up and down dance and clap your hands? That's how I'm feeling right now. So as I have mentioned in some of my other posts, I am on an anti-inflammatory diet (that is working FABULOUSLY, thank you). In the nine weeks that I have been strictly following this diet all of my swelling and joint pain is gone, my nosebleeds are gone, headaches are gone; the vomiting, stomach cramps, and choking are gone. I feel amazing. I have also dropped 25 lbs, so that's a rather nice side effect, I must say.

But in that nine weeks, I have also gone without a lot of things that many people take for granted. One of those things is chocolate. Another is baked goods. The diet I have been adhering to calls for no wheat, no gluten, no dairy, no soy, no sugar, no citrus, no eggs, no corn, no nightshades. So for the first six weeks, none of that. Then after six weeks I started to add in foods. So far I have added citrus, eggs, nightshades, and soy. I am working on corn this week. None of them have produced any severe reactions, so it is likely going to be wheat, gluten, dairy or sugar to which I am allergic. Or some combination thereof.

So anyway, you can imagine how excited I was when I ran across this recipe for cupcakes. It was posted on Ditch The Wheat, a blog that focuses on gluten-free, dairy-free, and low-carb recipes. So this recipe has no flour, no gluten, no dairy, and no processed sugar. It does have honey, which I am allowed because it is a whole food (no processing). And they cook in one minute. That's right. One minute. Talk about instant gratification. I made the recipe instantly. No kidding. I jumped up from my computer and jogged to the kitchen.

  Look at this beauty: chocolatey goodness.  All for me. Well, actually the recipe makes three. So I will generously share one with Mike. But the other two are for me!

I made them in these small ramekins, and that worked perfectly.

If you would like a link to the original recipe, you can find it here. Or you can look below for how I made them.

Flourless Chocolate Cupcakes

This makes three cupcakes:

1 egg
2 Tbsp Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1 Tbsp Honey
1/4 tsp Baking Soda

In a bowl, mix together the first three ingredients. When well mixed, add the baking soda and mix until completely combined.

Pour the batter into microwaveable cupcake liners (silicone works), ramekins (which is what I used) or the original recipe says you can put it in a medium bowl to make one bigger cake, or in a coffee mug. Since I used the ramekins, I lightly greased the inside with coconut oil. If you use the cupcake liners you can skip this step.

Microwave all three cupcakes at once for one minute. The cupcakes are done when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. If the cupcakes aren't quite done (since microwave strength does vary), just put it in for a couple more seconds.

*Note: the batter will rise very high at first and then deflate as it is finished baking.

These would be good with fresh raspberries or strawberries, or banana slices with honey. Hm. I might have to go eat that second cupcake!

Nutritional Information:
Calories: 53.5
Carbs: 8g
Protein: 3g
Fat: 2g

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Super-Tasty White Chicken Chili

I made this recipe the other night, and it was so good that I really need to share! I mean, we all need a tasty, healthy, easy dinner that we can pull together in under twenty minutes, right? I will confess, however, that this recipe was poached from one of my favorite blogs (Gimme Some Oven). Normally I take recipes and tweak them based on my dietary needs, food preferences, availability of local ingredients, or because they just really need a little more oomph. But not this one. I only made one teensy-weensy, itsy-bitsy change. I added a little dried cilantro, but that's because I didn't have any fresh cilantro on hand. I know a recipe is good when Mike will actually eat leftovers. :)

 So this recipe starts with some shredded chicken. I generally poach my chicken breasts and use two forks to shred them. The poaching method keeps the chicken really moist. You can, however, easily use a pre-roasted chicken from your local grocery store and just shred that meat. Or you can be one of those really organized people who spend their spare time prepping food and already have four cups of shredded chicken in the refrigerator or freezer. Regardless, you are going to need to come up with four cups of shredded chicken.

 Some cumin (and in my case, cilantro)...

 Some white beans mixed in with the chicken and spices...

And two cups of Salsa Verda. The Gimme Some Oven recipe also offers up a homemade Tomatillo Salsa Verde recipe that you can find here, but I was lucky enough to find an excellent Tomatillo and Avocado Salsa at Costco (love that place!) that had a list of ingredients all approved on my Anti-Inflammatory Diet. I think the brand name was Roja's... but it was delicious!

Add in 6 cups of chicken broth (I used organic because it fits my diet plan).

 And twenty minutes later (or less!) you are eating some fantastic White Chicken Chili. I put avocado in mine (because that's how I roll). Mike put cheese and Sriracha sauce (Rooster Sauce!) in his, because that's how he rolls.

The recipe as I made it is posted below, but I highly recommend you check out the original too, if for nothing more than her seriously amazing photography! Trust me on this, her pictures are way more yummy than mine!

White Chicken Chili

(Her recipes says 2-4 servings, but Mike and I got six full bowls out of this recipe, so I would say 6 servings)


6 Cups Chicken Broth, organic, low sodium
4 Cups Shredded Chicken
2 15 oz cans of Great Northern or White Beans, drained and rinsed
2 Cups Tomatillo/Avocado Salsa Verde
2 tsp Cumin
1 tsp dried Cilantro (if fresh is not available). If fresh is available, use lots of that instead!

Stir all ingredients together in a large saucepan (or a dutch oven, if you are like me). Heat over medium-high until boiling, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for at least 5 minutes. I simmered for about 15 minutes, and it was delicious!

You can top this with almost anything you want: avocado, sour cream, shredded cheese, fresh cilantro, tortilla chips/strips... even a corn-based salsa would be really good on it (although not in my diet yet).

I hope you enjoy!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Crafting Retreat at the Lighthouse Resort in Long Beach

The Lighthouse Resort

The townhouses at the Resort

I don't normally write about places I stay or places I eat, but I have to share a couple with you from this past weekend. A group of us visited The Lighthouse Resort in Long Beach, WA. We had a party of about 14 people, most of us crafters of some sort (quilting, knitting, painting, scrapbooking), and several of us play tennis as well. So we organized a crafting/tennis get-away weekend.

Chris working on embroidered quilt blocks - the most adorable little snowmen!
Penny painted Christmas ornaments.
Gwen, cutting the binding for her quilt.

Gwen, Donna, Chris and Penny, crafting a good time with some wine and friends on our balcony. It came with a great view!
The view from the balcony.
Mother Nature, crafting some incredible sunsets for us!
Mother Nature's sunset on Saturday night.

The resort was great! They allowed us to use the clubhouse to set up all of our crafting materials. We rented out a couple townhouses and single rooms, we had open play and drills for tennis, and we got to take part in a wine social sponsored by the tennis department! Some of the ladies even got to go take part in some razor clamming, and although I wasn't one of them (shellfish allergies... sigh), I hear they all limited out!

We also had the opportunity to eat at an amazing local restaurant: Shelburne's. This place was built in 1896 and has so many original features and so much charm. The food... oh where do I start? Local ingredients. Fresh. Cranberries. Mushrooms. Truffles. Basil Oil. Enough said. If you find yourself in Long Beach, definitely get some reservations and give this place a go. David is the proprietor, make sure you say 'hello'!

Long Beach is also known for it's cranberry bogs (OceanSpray is located there), although we did not stop by to see those this trip. If you go in the fall, though, you can watch the cranberry harvest. And we did pass a lot of roadside stands selling fresh cranberries.

The townhouses from the beach.
The resort clubhouse. The tower has an incredible view. That's where the wine social was held.

The waves coming in.

I had to include this photo of the sun. I mean, this was the Washington Coast, in October, and there was SUN. Besides, it's probably the last time I will see it all year!